Orpheus and Eurydice
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    Legend has it that in the times when gods and mythical creatures roamed the earth, there lived a young Greek named Orpheus, who used to sing beautiful songs accompanied by his lyre. His music was so beautiful that when he played, the beasts of the woods would come and lick his feet and even the turbulent waters of the rivers were diverted from their course to hear such wonderful tunes.

    One day Orpheus was at the heart of the forest playing his lyre, when among the branches of a distant bush he discovered a young nymph, half hidden, listening spellbound. Orpheus laid aside his lyre and went to contemplate the creature whose beauty and discretion were not matched by any other.

    -Beautiful nymph of the woods -Orpheus said-, if my music is of your liking, leave your hiding place and come hear what my humble lyre has to say.

    The young nymph named Eurydice, hesitated for a few seconds, but eventually went to Orpheus and sat beside him. Then Orpheus composed for her the most beautiful love song she had ever heard in those woods. And a few days later, at the same exact place, they celebrated the wedding of Orpheus and Eurydice.

    Happiness and love filled the days of the young couple. However, the fates, who mess up everything, came across their path. And one morning when Eurydice was walking through a green meadow, a snake came and bit her delicate ankle seeding within it the seed of death. That is how Eurydice died just a few months after celebrating their wedding.

    Upon learning of the death of his beloved, Orpheus fell in despair. Filled with pain he decided to go into the infernal depths to plead that Eurydice would be allowed to come back to life.

    Although the road to hell was long and full of difficulties, Orpheus managed to reach the edge of the Styx River, whose waters separated the kingdom of light of the kingdom of darkness. There he played a sad and melodious song that shook even Charon, the ferry man in charge of transporting the souls of the dead to the other side of the river.

    On Charon’s ferry, Orpheus crossed the waters that no living being was ever able to cross before. And once in the kingdom of darkness, there appeared before him Pluto, the god of the infernal depths. Orpheus, accompanied by his lyre, uttered the following words:

    -Oh, lord of darkness! Here I am, in your dominions, to beg you to resurrect my wife Eurydice and allow me to take her back with me. I promise that when our lives are over, we will be back to this place and stay here forever.

    Orpheus’ music and words were so moving that they managed to paralyze the pains of those who were eternally condemned to suffer. And they were also able to soften the heart of Pluto, who, for a moment, felt his eyes were watery.

    -Young Orpheus - said Pluto-, your beloved Eurydice will follow your steps until you have left the kingdom of darkness. Only then you can look at her. If you try to look at her before crossing the Styx River, you will lose her forever.

    -That is how it will be- reassured the musician.

    And so Orpheus began the journey back to the kingdom of light. For a long time, Orpheus walked shady paths and roads inhabited by dark shadows. Silence echoed in his ears. Not even the slightest noise betrayed the proximity of his beloved. And the words of Pluto would continuously ring in his head: "If you try to look at her before crossing the Styx River, you will lose her forever."

    At last Orpheus saw the River. There was Charon with his ferry and waiting on the other side was life and happiness with Eurydice. Or maybe Eurydice was not even there and all was nothing but a dream? Orpheus hesitated for a moment, full of impatience, turned his head to see if Eurydice was following him. And at that moment he saw his beloved become a column of smoke as he vainly tried to catch her in his arms while screaming imprisoned with despair:

    -Eurydice, Eurydice…

    Orpheus cried and begged forgiveness from the gods for his lack of confidence, but only silence answered his prayers. And, according to the legends, Orpheus, sad and full of pain, retired into a mountain where he spent the rest of his life with no company other than that of his lyre and the beasts that came to hear the melancholic songs composed in memory of his beloved.


Instructions: In the comprehension test circle one of the following letters: a, b, c.


1) In what country did Orpheus live?

a)  Rome.

b)  Greece.

c)  Mesopotamia.




2)  Eurydice was:

a) A beautiful girl.

b) A fun woman.

c) A nymph from the woods.




3)  What qualities did Orpheus find in Eurydice?

a) Beauty and discretion.

b) Youth and joy.

c) Humility and simplicity.



4) Orpheus composed for Eurydice:

a) A symphony of the woods.

b) A lyre concert.

c) A beautiful love song.




5) Why did Eurydice die?

a) Because the gods condemned her.

b) Because a snake bit her.

c) Because happiness is always short.




6) What separated the kingdom of light from the kingdom of darkness?

a) The Styx River.

b) The Gallocanta lake.

c) The lagoon of the gods.




7) The god of the infernal depths is:

a) Caron.

b) Neptune.

c) Pluto.




8) Which condition did Pluto give to Orpheus?

a) To play a concert with his lyre.

b) To not look at Eurydice before crossing the Styx River.

c) To compose a love song.




9) Why did Orpheus turn his head towards Eurydice?

a) Because he was anxious to see her.

b) Because he did not trust Pluto.

c) Because he had doubts and was impatient.




10) Eurydice turned into:

a) A column of smoke.

b) A bunch of ashes.

c) A column of salt.


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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of29-IX-1999
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